Construction of new homes in the United States rebounded in December, the government said Wednesday, helping to push activity for the entire year to the highest level since the peak of the housing boom nine years ago.
The Commerce Department reported that builders began construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million in December, a 4.4 percent increase from November when unusually severe weather pushed activity down a revised 4.5 percent.
For all of 2014, builders started construction on 1.01 million new homes and apartments, an increase of 8.8 percent from 2013, the first time construction has topped 1 million since the height of the housing boom in 2005, when builders started work on 2.07 million homes. Construction activity plunged to 587,000 in 2010 and has been making a slow recovery since then.
Construction of single-family homes in December rose 7.2 percent while the smaller apartment sector, which can be volatile from month to month, fell 0.8 percent.
Applications for building permits dropped 1.9 percent in December to 1.03 million after a 3.7 percent decline in November.
Economists are forecasting continued gains in home construction in 2015. That optimism comes from rising employment and favorable demographics that are expected to drive future construction as more young people decide to purchase a home.